Point of Interest

Charles Statue

England / Europe

On a traffic island South of Trafalgar Square sits a statue of King Charles I on a horse pointing towards Whitehall, the spot he was executed for treason in 1649. It was a significant period in English history, with a defacto republic in place from King Charles I beheading until the death of Oliver Cromwell causing chaos in England. Subsequently King Charles II was invited to take his position on the throne and the monarchy was reinstated. 1633 can be seen inscribed on the horses’ hooves, the year the sculpture was created by Hubert le Seur, commissioned by Lord Treasurer Weston. Upon King Charles I execution, parliament sold the sculpture to brazier John Rivet under instructions the statue was to be destroyed. However Rivet instead preserved the statue in secrecy, showing pieces of old brass to Parliament as proof that he had carried out their demands. The statue was later discovered and purchased by the King in 1675 upon reinstatement of the British monarchy. The statues’ place on Charing Cross was originally occupied by a monument in tribute to Queen Eleanor, who on her funeral procession passed by 12 significant spots which were all later marked by an elaborate cross sculpture in her memory. Charring Cross is where all distances in London are measured from.  

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